EAU CLAIRE Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – After 70 years, there are big changes in store for a Girl Scout camp. The Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes Council says it’s looking for a new space.
“The footprint that we are reimagining for our council is creating a Girl Scout Experience Center so that our girl scouts and our staff are in the same area and providing exceptional Girl Scout experience.”
Council CEO Patty Shafto-Carlson says they will look for a space about a third of Camp Nawakwa’s size and move it closer.
“In the west region we have Camp Nawakwa which we will be divesting and then we are going to create this new experience somewhere closer to maybe 29, Highway 29 between Eau Claire and Chippewa falls.”
The reason for the change, Shafto-Carlson says the camp is a property the council can’t afford to keep.
“It’s very expensive to maintain properties such as camp Nawakwa because as you can imagine, in the winter we’re talking about nature and it’s very expensive to maintain to even keep up at the baseline.”
Shafto-Carlson acknowledges there are memories and emotional ties members have to the camp and plans to honor that in the camp’s last summer session in 2023.
“We will be able to have that summer camp experience and we also want to take time to have that ceremonial closure of the camp as well. So that gives everyone that time to reflect on that camp experience.”
The memorial at Camp Nawakwa honoring those killed almost four years ago while doing a community service is something Shafto-Carlson considers when planning for the big change.
“We’re having conversations with those families about what they want, what is going to help with their healing, how can we honor and remember those families and those girls who were affected, and also our volunteers in the community.”
The CEO says it will take time and work to adjust to this change. A couple of parents reached out to First News at Nine expressing their concerns with the Girl Scouts council selling Camp Nawakwa. They called the camp a quote “healing space” and a place the girls can go to feel safe. We reached out to them and have not heard back.